Clive Adams

Consultant Curator: Art and Ecology

Clive Adams

Photo: Giuseppe La Spada


Interested in collaborating? Please email, particularly younger curators and artists wishing to engage the public with environmental issues.

CCANW: 2006-19

The Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World (CCANW) first operated from a Project Space in Haldon Forest Park in 2006, from which time it was supported by Arts Council England. Its programme of exhibitions and activities ranged from promoting the use of sustainably grown local timber in architecture, to an exploration of the environmental impact of the fashion industry, and also showed the work of artists such as the Harrison Studio, Lucy Orta and David Nash. Since then, in adapting to recent challenges, including the loss of staff and building in 2014, CCANW has increasingly gained valuable experience of working with multiple partners.

Our 'Soil Culture' programme became the most significant UK contribution to the UN International Year of Soils' (2015). We have also been involved in several important International and transdisciplinary collaborations, notably the 'Science Walden' project, a collaboration with Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology in South Korea, led for us by Dr Richard Povall of at Dartington Hall.

Clive Adams: 2020-22

'Our Living Soil' is a current project which will involve Clive working with the British Society of Soil Science and several Scottish partners, linking COP26 (now postponed to 2021 because of COVID-19) with the World Congress of Soil Science in Glasgow in 2022. The delegation of UK curators and artists he was to lead to meet colleagues in Italy in October has been cancelled because of the pandemic.

Currently, he is using extra time at home to work on an archive and book which will document the achievements of CCANW. He soon hopes to continue to build on his relationship with Bath Spa University, particularly in the fields of curating and environmental humanities, and to advise UNESCO's new Global Network of Water Museums.

Clive Adams: a brief biography

There is now increasing recognition of the important role that the Arts play in deepening humanity's understanding of the special responsibilities we have within Nature.

Arnolfini, Bristol (1974-79)

Clive was gallery co-ordinator at Arnolfini, Bristol (1974-79), then the largest contemporary arts complex outside of London. He initiated and hosted a series of major exhibitions including Martin Parr, ‘Artists Over Land’, Howard Hodgkin (1975), Jan Dibbets, Richard Long (1976), Robert Smithson (1977) and Carel Visser, Boyd Webb (1978).

Mostyn Art Gallery (1979-85)

As director of Mostyn Art Gallery (1979-85) he establishing it as Wales’s leading public exhibition space. Particular major exhibitions included Barry Flanagan, Edward Hopper (1981), J D Innes, Augustus John and Derwent Lees (1982) and David Nash (1983). For the exhibition ‘Turner in Wales’ (1984) the gallery was given a Prince of Wales Award.

Fabian Carlsson Gallery (1985-89)

He returned to London as managing director of Fabian Carlsson Gallery (1985-89), dealing in international contemporary and modern art, including works by De Kooning, Miro, Picasso, Rauschenberg and Warhol. He took particular responsibility for the work of Andy Goldsworthy and was closely involved in his projects in Japan and at the North Pole.

Independent Work (1989-2006)

In Britain, he compiled the catalogue raisonnés of Andy Goldsworthy’s photographs (1989) and Peter Randall-Page’s sculpture (1992) for the Henry Moore Centre of the Study of Sculpture. In Japan, he co-ordinated the exhibition ‘Sun, Wind and Rain:the Awakening of British Landscape Painting’ (1992) with major loans from the Tate Gallery and other national collections. He was a commissioner of Korea’s first international biennale (1995), responsible for selecting work from the Middle East and African countries.

Other exhibitions that he independently curated include ‘Love, Labour and Loss: 300 Years of British Livestock Farming in Art’, commissioned by Carlisle City Council for showings in Carlisle and Exeter (2002) and ‘The Impossible View?’ for The Lowry, the latter winning the Museums and Heritage Award for best UK temporary exhibition of 2003. A second major exhibition ‘The Art of White’ was curated for The Lowry in 2006.

CCANW (2006-20)

Having become increasingly concerned with environmental issues, from 2001 he explored several options to establish the Centre for Contemporary Art and the Natural World in Devon. In 2006 CCANW entered into a new partnership with the Forestry Commission in Haldon Forest Park nr. Exeter. Moving its base to the University of Exeter, from 2014-16 it delivered the ‘Soil Culture’ project. CCANW worked closely on the ‘Science Walden’ project with, based at the Dartington Hall Estate in Devon 2016-19.